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Will Christians Be Targeted By New Domestic Terrorism Law Enforcement Group

 June 13, 2014

 The U.S. Department of Justice announced plans on June 3rd to revive a law enforcement group – The Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee – which will investigate persons the department designates as domestic terrorists. 

The reconstituted task force will emerge from one that was originally created by former Attorney General Janet Reno after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. As law enforcement agencies began focusing on militia threats from abroad after the September 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks on America, the committee was dissolved shortly afterwards. 

The task force under Janet Reno focused mainly on right-wing extremism while current Attorney General Eric Holder’s newly minted committee will reportedly focus on Internet radicalization. 

Reuters reports that committee members will be selected from the FBI, the National Security Division of the Justice Department and the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, which also includes representatives of federal prosecutors. 

At the announcement of the reformation of the domestic terrorism committee, Holder said in a statement that while the United States remains concerned about threats from Islamic extremists, the task force will concern itself primarily 
with “the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice." 

Justice Department officials said that after the hate-driven shootings which occurred last April at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri, federal prosecutors are pushing for coordination of national intelligence on these types of criminals. 

Persons who would not fall under the jurisdiction of the committee are criminals who appear to be influenced by extremists abroad, such as the perpetrators at the April 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon

In its effort to ensure that the new task force will not engage in racial profiling or other bias targeting of individuals who may be wrongly suspected of having violent intentions, Naureen Shah, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union said the ACLU plans to hold discussions with the Justice Department on the matter. 

The re-launch of this federal domestic terror committee after not convening for over a decade has raised major privacy concerns. Lee Rowland, a staff attorney at the ACLU, said, "Attorney General Holder's announcement that the new task 
force will focus on evidence of antigovernment animus and racial intolerance raises concerns that it could be a sweeping mandate to monitor and collect controversial speech." 

In 2009, Janet Napolitano – then Homeland Security Department Secretary – supervised an intelligence assessment proposing closer scrutiny of "right-wing extremism," which included some antiabortion and anti-immigration groups, gun owners, and recent war veterans. The report angered many conservatives when it was released, and fostered mistrust of Obama administration policies, as NationalJournal.com points out. 

In April of 2014, the FBI began an investigation into the militia and supporters that stood with Cliven Bundy during the armed standoff at his southeastern Nevada ranch, which erupted out of a legal dispute over unpaid grazing fees demanded by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

The characterization of the Bundy supporters as “domestic terrorists” by Senator Harry Reid, as well as the revelation in a Dept. of Defense directive that President Obama had considered using military force against the gathering of 
supporters on the Bundy ranch property, both point to the ultimate question: who will actually be targeted by this task force?